Monday, June 20, 2016

Satan Kicked into Overtime...

Yesterday was a day of high and lows, the kind of days that takes you from smiles to tears in a moments notice.

My day started off wonderful, I headed to church an hour early with my husband, he attends music
this is not my Dad's tractor
practice and normally I sleep in, but I got up early and went yesterday.  The music was beautiful - we have some amazing talent in our church - oh and they sang my favorite song "How Great Thou Art" - double score.

I later attended small groups, which has become one of my favorite times of the week.  I use to despise attending Sunday School, until I met a group of folks as eager to learn about God as I am.  We talked, we laughed, and we cried......okay only one of us cried - and that was not me.

Church just kept getting better throughout the morning - things that I have been praying about for nearly a year is coming about.  Needless to say I was on a God High!

Then.....


This part that I am going to share is very personal, but I am sharing it to show you how fast Satan can pull you down.

I had baked the most beautiful blackberry pie for my Dad and was excited about going to see him. My new schedule and married life has limited the amount of time I been able to go see him - I work alot, go to school, have two kids, a husband, and you know how fast life goes by.

Before I even got to the truck with the pie - I had made a horrible mess of it.  I was feeling horrible - Blackberry Pie is kind of my dad and I's thing.

I managed to salvage the pie and make it to my Dad's - I walked in sat down and something was not right - I could feel it all over.

Suddenly....

My Dad said "I thought you were going to come out and put up hay" bewildered by his statement I replied "what are you talking about, you know if you need help all you have to do is call" and he said "no I don't need help, but you put it on Facebook that you were busy putting up hay for your Dad" 

I sat their rethinking my Facebook post for the past 3 months, I remember sharing a photo of the tractor on Facebook, but that was just a pretty shot.  

I asked my Dad "who told you that" knowing my father does not even touch a computer let alone use Facebook....he explained that I had become a front porch joke and someone had even talked about having lemonade and lawnchair out there to watch me put up hay. 

I was mad, anger came over me like no other!  

First of all someone or some people had lied to my Dad, knowing he had no way of looking on my Facebook, they enjoyed smearing my name to him.  

At that moment they looked better to him than I did - my Dad knew I was not going to put up hay (unless asked), but he didn't know what I put on Facebook. 

I slowly got up from my chair and went to the kitchen to get a drink and CRY - I couldn't hold back the alligator tears from rolling down my face.  

 I have never been a "good" daughter towards my Dad (I gave him a run for his money), but my Dad has always been proud of me - until he thought I was lying publicly about helping him. 

The Emotions Flared...

Knowing that I was now an emotionally defeated wreck my husband came to pull me back to reality and assure me this was Satan working against me, because I had been working for God.  

About the moment we were embraced  in a hug and I had my tears under control I could hear my Dad's change in his pocket clinking as he decided he wanted some of that pie.  

The rest of our visit was at odds as I couldn't even grasp that someone would go so low to lie to look better than me - lord knows I mess up enough on my own. 

Late Last Night...

As I laid in bed thinking and wrestling with this the verse Romans 8:31 came to mind 

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" 

Here on Earth, there will be plenty of people who disappoint us and hurt us both intentionally and unintentionally - that is Satan at his finest.  Who is against us?  Satan is against us and those who are under his control.  

What is here on Earth only matters if it keeps you from getting to Heaven, so what people are saying about you - doesn't matter - for in Heaven only God will place his judgement.   

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rebirth through Baptism...I felt PEACE

Two absolutely beautiful things happened tonight, two things I and many others have prayed about for a long long time.

Today was one of the proudest parent moments in my life (only one - because this only involved
Lesse being Baptized
Lesse).  Tonight my oldest child Lesse made the commitment that her life no longer belongs to her - it belongs to God.  After lots of discussion, a year of deciding (I made her wait so she understood), and the comfort that Momma was going to be there also, Lesse made the decision to be baptized!   My heart fluttered as I watched be dunked under the water and rise again.  Bless you Lesse - with God you will do GREAT things!

Now I said two - a little over a year ago, I admitted here on my blog that God has been speaking to me.  Through this you all have watched me grow, you have watched me turn my life completely back to God, and you watched God bring Trey into our lives.  All GOOD GOOD things.....

BUT, there was still something missing, there was this void, this unknowing, this feeling that something was not right.  I knew I was living right, but I didn't feel equal to or as confident as other christians.

A little over a year ago I was having a conversation on the phone with a former schoolmate - that person was talking about baptism and how important it was.  I was baptized, I remember standing on the stage of New Bethel Church and having the water sprinkled over my head by the Pastor - so I blew off his conversation and went on my way.

Months led on and baptism came up again - this time from Trey.  The sharp tongue kind of person I am, told him whats what and went on my merry way.   Trey never pushed the issue again, but God did.

Again few months later there was this burning sensation in the bottom of my stomach - there was the pain from the past creeping up - there was remembering of what I have been through and what I had survived.

I told myself that my past was not that bad, I never did drugs or anything really bad so what's the big deal.

By society's standards my past 20 years has been almost normal - a little partying, a baby born out of wedlock, a broken marriage, unmarried sex, and a couple of bad words here and there - in fact when talking to friends about what I survived - I sounded like one of the lucky ones.

However, deep inside I hurt like someone had punched me so hard that I completely stopped breathing.   I would lay in bed at night and have flashbacks of those horrible brokenhearted nights - the memories of my world falling apart, the nights I sat curled up in my daughter's closet holding my sweet daughter crying out for God to have mercy on me - even though My life was full of sin.  I would walk through the store and see someone that knew my story or part of my story and feel their eyes looking through my soul.  I was in PAIN - the pain that only God could take away.

Then one Sunday morning I arrived at church unprepared - UNPREPARED what God was getting ready to throw at me.

Our Pastor stood on the stage looked straight at me and said something about we are going to talk facts today......I may have squirmed, I may have moved a bit in my chair, but no matter what I did I was drawn in.

His message was all about being baptized - there was no escaping now - I was here to listen. 

Follow this link and listen to the 5/15/16 Sermon titled Salvation.  

I sat there, absorbed, absorbed, and went home KNOWING what had to be done!  

I fought all night that night with the idea that "I was baptized, but I was sprinkled" - then there was this small little lingering that I was sprinkled not immersed in the water - not to mention all the crazy things that I had done over the past 20 years.

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ  - 1 Peter 3:21

and...

Romans 6:3-11

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was
Our After Baptism Selfie - 2 believers!




crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The next day.....I messaged our Pastor and told him this:

So this is kind of embarrassing but something that's been eating at me for a while - yesterday was kind of a pushing point. I may have told you in our marriage counseling - I was baptized as a child, and only vaguely remember it. I know I was sprinkled and always thought that was okay, but now I don't think so..I also know that over the past 20 years, I was always a believer but not a follower....
So I am curious about getting re-baptized?

Days later - I walked myself down into the baptismal pool and made my declaration and was immersed into the water.  
While I have heard people come up shouting - I came up feeling peace. Peace that the past is gone, I buried the last 20 years, and know that God is in control of my life - and I work for him.




Saturday, May 21, 2016

Negative Comments...how to deal with them.

I often openly talk about the good God does in my life and the places he has brought me from. 

Not all my days are painted with sunshine and gleaming lights - there are days that I struggle. 


My biggest struggle is overcoming those who want to hurt me or get pleasure from hurting me. 

I know I don't deserve the grace and love that God has given me - but he loves me unconditionally - so why can't you accept me and accept that I AM A CHRISTIAN also.  

This week as I receiving what should have been a warm congratulations - it ended with "I hope this one works for you" - how do you even respond to that???

I first stood in awe that someone who I have always admired would have the cold bitterness to say such horrible thing to me.

I then wanted to defend my relationship - wanted to brag how amazing he is.

Last, I wanted to remind this overly kind (insert sarcasm) what really happened in the past. 

Instead, I managed to say "oh I am not worried about that" and walked off. 

I read this today:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  Ephesians 2:10 NLT

So to some my life might look like a failure, but I have to remind myself that those people are not my maker and most certainly not my GOD. 

They don't have the ability to love me unconditionally (even if they say they do), they don't have the ability to not judge me, and they can't see this great big plan God has planned for me. 

For those people that can't seem to bite their tongue or always want to take a jab at you - here is the simple answer.

Proverbs 15 

"A gentle answer turns away wrath,
 but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
 but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
    keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
 but the income of the wicked brings ruin.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
    but the hearts of fools are not upright.

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
 but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; 
the one who hates correction will die.

Death and Destruction[a] lie open before the Lord—
how much more do human hearts!

Mockers resent correction,
 so they avoid the wise.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
    but heartache crushes the spirit.

The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
 but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil.

Better a small serving of vegetables with love
 than a fattened calf with hatred.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
 but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
    but the path of the upright is a highway.

A wise son brings joy to his father,
    but a foolish man despises his mother.

Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
    but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
 but with many advisers they succeed.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
    and how good is a timely word!

The path of life leads upward for the prudent
    to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.

The Lord tears down the house of the proud,
    but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.

The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
 but gracious words are pure in his sight.

The greedy bring ruin to their households,
 but the one who hates bribes will live.

The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
 but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

The Lord is far from the wicked,
 but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
 and good news gives health to the bones.

Whoever heeds life-giving correction
    will be at home among the wise.

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
    but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
    and humility comes before honor."


I have to remind myself of that often!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cape Girardeau Air Festival

So I am a little late at posting these - but still wanted to share.   The 2016 Cape Girardeau Air Festivalwas amazing - Good Job City of Cape Girardeau and all the sponsors.

This is an annual event, this year it was free (I can't remember if it was previously).  The best thing about the air show is you are right there - the jumpers, pilots, and crews are willing to meet the audience  - we love that!





Canadian SkyHawks 





















Saturday, May 14, 2016

Being Bridezilla is NOT Normal...

This past week my daughter and I were chatting about our wedding....she curiously asked "Mom, why were you not Bridezilla?"  She apparently learned this mocking term from some movie.  

I can happily admit that I was not Bridezilla - not one moment - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our wedding and the moments up to it. 

Photo by Elizabeth Rae Photography
From the moment Trey asked me to marry him, I prayed that God use my marriage to do his work - including my wedding.  

I prayed "God, make this day and my marriage about you and not about me"

I never complained about the stress of getting married, because I was not stressed. 

I never freaked out, because there was nothing I feared. 

I never worried about who would be there or who would not be there. 

I never wanted my wedding to be a show, I wanted it to be a testimony for God's love. 

We dream for years about finding "Happy Ever After" but finding that happiness does not come from the perfect wedding, the best dress, the number of people in attendance, or the size of the production.  

It comes from making a commitment to work with another person, for God.  

I think back to our wedding day (yes it was only a few weeks ago) and I remember not wanting to eat at my reception, I just wanted to sit and watch all the beautiful people God brought together to rejoice his masterful plan.

I remember thinking; I don't want this night to end, I want to hug everyone, love everyone, watch everyone eat those yummy cupcakes, and laugh with them out of pure joy.  

I often question the hearts of those "Bridezilla" brides- if your wedding is stressful, what will your marriage be like?

Marriage may be hard, but it is a lot harder if you are marrying for the wrong reasons! 







Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I am SOLD on the Panasonic LUMIX ZS60

So a few years back Panasonic gifted me with the Panasonic ZS40 - that camera made me like Panasonic - I even wrote a whole post comparing it to my Canon EOS Rebel T3.  


Then last year they teased me by giving me the Panasonic A500H  to test out, again, I was amazed by the technology and ease of use. 

HOWEVER......

This year, just days before my wedding, Panasonic surprised me with  the new Panasonic LUMIX ZS60 - and I am SOLD on Panasonic products now. 

I have used only the Panasonic ZS60 while on my honeymoon - below I am sharing a few of the photos and the features that amaze me with this camera.

The quality of images is amazing.....

Again, you all know I have been a Canon girl for years, for the fact that I despise grainy unprofessional photos, but secretly I loathe carrying around my great big camera bag and all the gear.

After a few shots with my new Panasonic Lumix ZS60 - NO editing this was the result.  

Shot of the Thorncrown Church in Eureka Springs Arkansas

The ease of use is perfect....

So I am like super busy, okay every mom is super busy, but I am that mom that can't waste time on reading directions - in fact don't tell Panasonic, but I have no idea where my directions to this camera are.

However, with no directions I was still able to shoot photos, edit photos, share photos with my phone, ohhhhhh and I discovered (unlike my last Panasonic) this camera has a touch screen - with my fat fingers that does wonders!

demonstrating the little green lines'

Another new feature that sold me on the new Panasonic ZS60 is the leveling technique - I am terrible at taking straight pictures, even with my big camera, well this new feature makes me want to level my photos and get all green lines!  

Below is a photo I was able to shoot while using the the leveling technique.  


a photo I was able to shoot using the green lines...no editing or filter

The Zoom......

Like my other Panasonic camera the ZS60 has amazing zoom quality - below you will see 2 photos one shot without zoom and one shot zoomed in - I see no grainy pixels or poor quality in either photo.

Not Zoomed -



Zoomed in -




The video quality....

Now Panasonic talks about the 4K video quality - I am not really an expert on 4k or video quality. What I do know is that my camera shoots amazing videos when I hit the button, oh and I can shoot a photo while I am videoing - double awesomeness.  

Video of Bam Bam the Bear at Turpentine Creek Animal Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas


Panoramic View...

Part of the shooting features that I love is the panoramic view - this has become some what popular, but as a travel writer, this is a must.  I want to be able to show my readers the same view that I am seeing - I want you to feel that you are there with me.

Panasonic offers this on the Lumix ZS60 with just a turn of the dial - I must admit this photos speaks wonders - look at the clouds.





Customer Service and Deals...

I am a person that seeks good customer service and a good deal - I can say the few times I have had a question or issue with my Panasonic cameras their support team as been there to help me - either in person or over the phone.

Panasonic has also been so kind to offer my readers and the Traveling Mom's readers a really good deal - just in time for Mother's Day.



Would I suggest you buy the Panasonic ZS60? 

My close friends always ask "if you had to pay for that camera would you buy it?"  Yes I would - I would recommend this camera to anyone including those who have to see me daily.  This camera is perfect for everyday use, business use, and busy moms like me.  





Friday, April 29, 2016

Goodbye Single Life

As D said "we will no longer be single, we will marry Trey, and it will be us all the time"....

Tonight, I kissed Trey goodbye, drove home with Lesse and D...this will be our last night of not living together!  :-) 

The kids and I talked about the past, the present, and the future - the future was their favorite (mine also).

We said goodbye to what was once and are ready for what is gonna happen!  

This week is the week of changes.....

I gave up my full time stressful job......


I snuggled with this cute guy....



I remembered this girl is smarter than me...


And tomorrow I marry my best friend...